John Lockhart - SBU-12


For the ARG platoon Skip, Bob and I were assigned to SEAL Team One Hotel Platoon. To start the six-month tour we put the Sea Fox and two Zodiac's to the test. We started at SD1 off Point Loma and went 100 miles out to San Clemente Island in a sea state 5 then turned around without stopping and returned to base.

Skip was one heck of a coxswain. We literally got the wind knocked out of us continually over the course. Speed and angle of approach and decent is the key to survival in rough seas. Skip instinctively knew how to maneuver through rough seas. Those coxswains that submarined their sea foxes were bull headed SOBís that wouldnít listen to those of us that understood seamanship. Hatís off to Uniflight for the Sea Fox construction. (Opinion on boat design withheld)

For the boat crew the B&A lift was the biggest challenge during the year we spent with the teams. Coordinating with the shipís deck crew was paramount. All lines had to be slacked in unison with the crane. Then the boatís engines had to be started as we entered the water and rudder applied to keep the boat from being sucked under the ship. Bob did a great job of making sure the engines started with the first hit every time. The crew on the USS Duluth could not have done a better job of making sure that we in the boat were safe. Their line handling was superb.

Lt. Landis and Ensign Gershburger were the best officers in the ARG platoons. They listened to the senior enlisted and provided excellent leadership. Ensign Gershburger always took lead position and drove as hard as any man in the IBSís. As a boat crewman I was allowed to go on several opís with the team. Iíll never forget seeing the Ensign smiling as he came out of the freezing January water somewhere north of the 38th parallel.

The SDVís were also B&Aíd over the side and were a big part of our operations. World intel is amazing. The second we pulled the cover off the SDV news helicopters appeared from everywhere to film the exercise. Coincidence?

It was great fun working with Forced RECON. We used the Sea Fox for inserting and extracting both SEAL Teams and Force RECON. The men in both groups were always first class and worked well independently and together. RECON men really know their weapons.

The USS Duluth brought us through the worst storm Iíve ever been in. We took seas completely over the bridge that pressed the stern davits, port and starboard into the shipsí hull like print on paper and ripped the lifeboats from the two-inch steel cables. Even with the heaviest of seas the Sea Fox, SEALís and crew were steadfast and unscathed.